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virtualoctopus, CKW, Wesforce
"Not gonna talk? Eh?"
The Ork grabbed Crash by his neck, hauling off the sofa, and holding him two feet off the floor. Crash gulped, as best as possible in the stranglehold.
The Dwarf looked up as his colleage.
"Whoa, Morg, wait a sec. Doncha wanna try some diplomacay, 'fore we cream the bugger?"
Crash's face brightened suddenly.
The Dwarf scanned the room, and his eyes alighted on the Cyberdeck.
"You're a decker, eh?" Crash gulped again and nodded frantically.
The Dwarf picked up a datadisc, held it in one oversized hand by each edge, and snapped it in two.
"We have 4 discs here. That's one for each time I ask you. After that, we move onto the 'deck itself."
He looked at Crash, who was still being slowly choked.
"Where is Zero?"
"Where is Turin?"
"You know where Zero is. Tell us."
"Turin was here five minutes ago. Where is she?"
"Ok," Thorensson said, his face beginning to turn red with anger. "Tell us where the frag Zero and Turin are or bye-bye Mr. Cyberdeck, drek-head!"
Crash struggled to speak, from the throttling grasp of the Ork.
"I don't... know..."
The dwarf looked at him, and in one motion, his face livid with rage, hurled the cyberdeck out through the open window.
Silvia had been watching this from the corner. The window was flapping open - Mary must have exitted through that. Both the thuggish detectives were distracted by the prospect of pummelling Crash.
Oh man... I gotta do something, she thought.
Outside, Mary could hear the cop's brutal questioning. She clung tight to the wall, with sore fingers, and attempted to edge along the ledge, towards a another window. She'd be noticed, or would fall if she stayed out here.
Trembling, she managed to get one hand on the sill on the next window, her face now almost pure white with fear. She edged closer, and managed to get both hands on it, and prepared to pull herself inside. She leant to lean back into it, when the whole ledge below her gave way, the bits of ferra-crete tumbling away into the abyss below her. A bunch of rent-a-cops on the street looked up, for the source of the tumbling cement and bits of moss.
"It looks like another 'cide", the voices carried upwards, in the still morning air.
"Bad time to do it, eh," joked. "Shall I shoot her down, boss"
"Nah, just stay clear, and watch when she gets pasted! We don't wanna damage the brickwork". The rent-a-cops laughed.
Mary clung to the window sill, her feet dangling below, in the wide air. She was going to die.
One hand began to slip, but she couldn't cry out, the effort was too much. The wind played around her, whistling in her ears, as she prepared for her last moments, a plummeting fall.
Suddenly, two green hands seized her, and pulled her roughly into the apartment. She landed in a heap, in a room not unlike Crash's. It certainly smelt as bad.
"Weeeelllll, what dooooo we have here?"
Mary found herself looking up into the face of a young, brown furred goblin.
Xecktos had made a bad mstake returning to the Jagged Nails. For one, he was injured, and tired, having not slept at all.The bouncers alerted the Daisaka boys instantly upon seeing him - They'd been given his description both by Daisaka and Jimmy Lefixit. Xecktos attacked and killed two Ork bouncers, but he found Del the TRoll a tough nut to crack.
While he was fighting the monster, Another APC load of riot troops in Daisaka armour arrived on the scene, supported by a gunship.
Caught out on the street, Xecktos's position was helpless...
Being left all alone, Lady Zero made her way out of the hotel at the earliest opportunity. She called Daisaka, and then a
taxi, running past an unoccupied black limousine. There appeared to be a dead man in a blacksuit lying at the base of the Regal Burgers across the road...
Shadow exited the hospital, evading the mafia men running up the stairs - They had been told that Shadow was on their side. They nodded to him..Upon leaving, Shadow couldn't believe his luck when he spotted Lady Zero come out of a hotel next door...
"Heh heh." He chuckled. He walked up to her.
"Oof!" He grunted, as the once-meek and tearful Lady kneed him in the balls. Shadow went down like a ton of bricks, as the Lady started to run...
Lora woke up yet again. This time, Italian sounding men in shades and black suits surrounded her, with guns...
As Shadow was running towards the window, he noticed that Lora was looking at him. He was still running and talking to Jimmy as he dove out the window and hit the ground hard.But continue to run.
"Lora told me that Xecktos was gonna cross you, as he has already done. She then told me she had a plot to go and kill everyone that was trying to go against him. I think he may be coming after you...that is all she told me..." Shadow said to Jimmy and kept talking:
"About that man of Don Zix...I killed him. I couldn't make out who he was on the roof...I thought he was going to kill either me or Lora...so I shot him and fled..." Shadow said.
Shadow out, he clicked off his wrist phone and noticed Lady Zero crying as she left the hotel.
Shadow chuckled and bumped into her on purpose. He saw Lady Zero turn around and knee him in the groin...he fell to the ground hard.
He waited for 5 minutes and noticed she was running across the street. Shadow went after her.
Crash's short life was flashing before his eyes. He was really suffering from the pummeling the Detectives were giving him.
When both their 'phones beeped, he took it as a sign from Grud.
"Drek!" Detective Thorensson snarled. 'I wasnt finished! You lot, take over!"
"Heh heh, with pleasure!" Two Riot cops said, and started laying into the one-armed kid again. Then Thorensson and the Ork turned to their 'Phones.
"What? Is this true?" Thorensson said.
"She's... surfaced?" The Ork Detective was puzzled.
"Lets get on it right away!"
Both Detectives left, leaving the riot cops clueless.
A bit later, the two Detectives were racing across town once more. It was still early morning, and the Doughnuts and Nuke 'em burgers were still warm...
uuh...it wouldn't hurt for them to use a truth spell once in a while, thought Crash, as his cyberdeck was airborn.
"Okay ya slug, tell us where the two girls are, or we knock the braincells outta ya" said one of the riot cops, not knowing what to do exactly, so they rsorted to the usual beat-up first ask questions later routine...
Suddenly, they saw a flicker coming from another area of the apartment. The two riot cops went to check it out...
Meanwhile, Firearm had just woken up... he had heard an APC and a helicopter a few moments ago, now he could hear the heli iver at crash's place!
The fate was going nuts... At least was that Mac said. Fragging Daisaka. They had scattered the runners througout the city. Not a good look, in the previous hours of an imminent buclear attack.
He phoned again his old mate, Overmind.
In a few moments, using a hack in the Atlus satellite positioning system of MUNDI, he was able to track down several of them.
Fortunately, Eva only needed first aid surgery, as the bullets had not hit any of the important structures of her feet. Still, she wasn't able to run... She left the hospital, with great effort. She would have only one more opportunity to track down and kill her target.
N'zar received an ultimate warning from MUNDI via vidphone.
He laughed at them. Poor fools, pretending to be the keepers of global peace- They were made from the battered remnants of the UN, and they were nothing than a illusion, a fake. The real keepers of peace were the MegaCorps, not them.
Crash then, just remembered something...
"OhMyGod! we forgot about the..."
The cops turned back to Crash.
"What? Forgot about WHAT?!? Forgot to tell us something?"
"Don't make me come over there boy... TELL US!"
"Some dude... I have no clue of his name... is going to launch a Buclear attack on Geneva!"
Shadow ran up to Lady Zero and got infront of her.
He looked at her and said to her in a whisper: "I am going to help you... just as Xecktos was... my boss was going to have me or Xecktos capture you and hand you over to someone else.."
He continued to talk:
"I have a feeling Xecktos is going to be locked up and away... I am going to help him out, even though he betrayed me earlier. Is there anywere I can take you that you will be safe?"
Shadow looked around and pulls her into a nearby alleyway.
"If you don't trust me... I know why... " Shadow says to Lady Zero.
Shadow waited for her reply.
Mary looked at the goblin.
"Nooo probleem. I'm Dorodoo..."
"Mary. Sorry, but could you help? My friends are in the next door room, getting beaten up by some rent-a-cops."
"Is thaat Crassh? He livees there."
"Yeah, Crash. You know him?"
"Kinda. I onliee moved in here a few weeks agoo."
Mary peered into the corridor from the doorway of Dorodo's apartment. There was no-one out there, but Crash's door was open.
"Ok. Keep quiet"
Mary had no idea what she was going to do, but there was a chair outside in the corridor. Only one leg was broken. She picked it up as best she could. Perhaps she could use it as a weapon.
They could hear muffled yelps from inside the room.
Mary stepped into the doorway, and took in the room instantly. Crash was being beaten up, pounded by two rent-a-cop thugs, who were obviously interrogating him the easy way. Silvia was still in the corner, ignored once again. She looked very angry, and was in mid-transformation.
Crash, bent over with pain, didn't see Mary. She brought the broken chair down as hard as possible on one rent-a-cop's head, who collapsed under it. The other turned, saw her, and drew a pistol with a shocked expression. However, the goblin, Dorodo, leapt at him, snarling, and the cop stepped backwards -
- and fell over the prone form of Crash, smacking his head hard against the wall.
Mary bent down.
"Crash? You alright?"
"Yeah" Crash groaned - this was the second time he'd been beaten up in the few hours following the concert. "Just let me get time to breathe again". Crash was obviously doing his best to be macho, but he definately was hurt.
Silvia had flickered back into human form. It was too confining to be a dragon in small places like Crash's apartment.
"I suggest we try and sneak out of here... it's not nice if more cops arrive"
"Ok." said Mary, agreeing, as she knew there were cops outside the building. "Let's check in on Crystal's apartment, first. She lives in this block, doesn't she Crash - you were here when I went to meet her.
Piling all his weaponry into a van, all his persona stuff and important items, Firearm was ready to leave ASAP to get out of range of Geneva...
Meanwhile, Crash was trying to get together his computer for shipment in a van later, ready to depart out of geneva...
"Luckily, all my data from my cyberdeck is stored on my computer...kind of a backup..."
"Hurry up" said Mary "We have to go to crystal's apartment... no phones, i think that's how they tracked us here... one last call though"
*bring Bring* Firearm, tell raven to meet us at Crystals for the evac...
And there they went, Crash, Mary and Silvia trying to sneak away towards crystal's apartment...
Eva got up shakily. She still had bullet wounds to her chest. Luckily, The solid, bony, armoured plates that she had instead of ribs had stopped most of the damage there, though she still ached all over and suffered from anaesthesia from the operation.
On the way, she bumped into The Italian Mafia men crowding Eva's room.
"Hey, frag you, slitch!" One of them shouterd, pointing at her for no other reason.
Eva's psychopathic instincts took over. She slammed her fist down on a tray next to her. A scalpel flicked up into the air. She plucked it out of the air and threw it at the guy who'd shouted. It went through his shades, his eye and lodged in the back of his cranium.
"Frag me! Keel her!" The other two men shouted, both pulling out small Zaibatsu machinepistols.
Duh...umiez...fightin...Must get up...
All three - Eva, the mafia men - turned as a shambing, fried form shambled towards them.
IT WAS TANK!
And he received a ten-round machinepistol burst, right at his head...
"Please...Just let me go!" Lady Zero pleaded with Shadow, looking right into the big, round blue eyes...
Xecktos's stealth suit was invisible to light, thermographic detectors, maybe even radar.
But nothing phsyical could mask his magical aura, and for that matter, his signature on an ultrasound scope.
A Daisaka mage got him with a sleep spell. A sniper shot both his legs with his high-powered rifle, just in case.
Seconds later, Daisaka had him bound in the back of the APC, completely naked with all his cyberware thoroughly deactivated. They weren't taking chances with such a well-known cop-murderer, one who would slaughter unarmed bouncers.
"So..." The Sarge asked him. "WHERE IS LADY ZERO?!?!" Just as his massive fist came slamming down.
Lora felt pain. Pain beyond even her grievous wounds, pain she couldn't determine the source of.
She cried, there in her hospital bed, yet another battle raging around her...
Jyl's ears picked up the sounds of a rat moving over the crates, looking for a meal. Subconciously, he grabbed the rat quickly and drained the blood, the first thing he's done that's made any sense. Instincts told him that something was amiss and that he was going to need all the energy he could muster up.
"Ratty! Ratty! Where are you my boy? Ratty?" The crazy dwarf in dungarees said, pointing his torch and shotgun into the corners. He had been so flush with the success of his 500nuyen credstick he'd forgotten all about his pet rat.
Then he saw what had happened...
The blood! Or rather, the lack of it...
Firearm finished piling all his stuff into the van - Raven's van. He was careful not to alert the Daisaka boys swarming all over the area, in APCs, on foot and in gunships. There were also drones...
"I don't think Raven would like it if you took his van. I wouldn't either." Curim said, still laying as if asleep.
"The girl called from around here." Grashnak said. The car pulled up near the Street clinic.
"Hey! There she is! And who's that with her? We've got a hostage situation! Call for backup!" Thorensson screamed, deafeningly loud in the unmarked electric cop-car.
The Grashnak radioed in while Thorensson drew his heavy IWS Mankiller pistol. He and His partner both took cover behind his car and aimed their pistols squarely at the man's blue eyes.
"Easy chummer! Let the girl go! LET HER GO!"
Crystal drew up close to the Street clinic.
'Find Lora' Xecktos had said. Should be easy...
She looked around from the safety of her car.
Hmm, a hostage situation over there, a dead guy by the Regal Burgers, an abandoned limo...Uh oh...
She ran straight to the hospital, carrying her bag of tricks and her Browning Ultra-Power. She turned at the sound of shouting. She saw an Ork and Dwarf shouting at a guy holding...Oh sleg...That was Lady Zero.
Crystal shook her head. No...no...This isn't happening! This is just an illusion! Better get up there and save Lora, the cops can handle this!
Though her heart felt for Lady Zero, she knew Lora also was in great danger.
She ran up the stairs, two at a time just in time to hear screaming, and a astonishigly loud machinepistol burst.
She dared to peek around the corner...
A huge figure lay on the floor, its face a bloody ruin. Engaged in a bloody, vicious battle were a blindingly fast woman and two men in black suits, shouting in Italian - They had machinepistols. One other of those men lay messily dead.
Entire world's going to hell in a drekbasket...Where's Lora?
Those patients that could walk, tried to escape as best they could. Already at least two had been accidentally killed by the fighters. Crystal pushed through the terrified walking wounded. She passed a private room, looked in:
Lora. Bedridden, crying. Crystal saw right away moving her was impossible without medical help - She was hooked up to an artificial breather. Some poor slag in porter's clothes lay on the floor.
First of all, Crystal jammed the door shut. She put the Porter's unconsious form behind it to block it. Next, She used a lenght of cord ripped from the Porter's trousers to make a crude tripwire to attach to the door - To this she attached a concussion grenade - Anyone breaking through the door would trigger the stun grenade.
Lastly, she kicked over the room's trolley to make a flimsy barricade. She put her heavy handgun over this, iming at the door, and kept more grenades to hand.
She looked at Lora.
"Th...thank...you.." She croaked.
Crystal got up, leant over and gave her a tight, long hug, wiping her tears away.
Then she called Cylinder Head.
Cy, rigged to another 'copter received the call.
"Right on ya, Crys! Be there in a few seconds!"
The Tilt-Wing IWS Kommando helicopter banked as he changed course. It had taken him all night to get this partcular piece of kit. He'd used a Decker - 'The Binman'- to acquire a false rental permit from 'Hellreiser Air Transport co'.
In the back, 'The Binman' carried on speaking to Billy and Jimmy, the guys from that band, 'The Jovis and Mary Chain'.
In the Rifle Volunteer, Badjimmy woke with a start as two figures entered the pub. He'd fallen asleep of several narcobeers. He recognised the two - 'Chance' and 'Ash'.
"What, only two 'Runners turned up? What the frag?" He shouted.
Ash turned to her lover.
"There's some crazy drunk Elf over there, blue hair, black cybereyes. Looks familiar. But no-one else, just the bartender. What shall we do?"
Ever the professional, Chance said:
They watched the news in the bar over a soykaf.
"It seems Aztlan are flying the white flag over the Geneva Pyramid! Yes! They really are giving up to the Daisaka and AET troops! The question is now - What happens to the Pyramid and remaining occupants?"
"In other news - Unconfirmed rumours suggest the singer in a popular band - Known as 'Mrs 'O' - has gone missing. More info on that when we have it."
"The IWS Spacecraft destined for Mars has been given a name - 'Halliday's Reach'. It is unconfirmed how many occupants will be on board at the time of launch."
"In the UCAS, the votes in the presidential election have almost been counted up..."
Jyl opened his eyes at the sounds of the dwarf calling for the rat he had just sucked the blood out of. Snarling at the sudden distrubance, he leaped up, the crate debris scatters everywhere and knocked the drawf backwards. The torch gets knocked out of his hands and slides away.
"Lookie Bob, a friend to play with."
The drawf looked at Jyl, slightly horrified. Slowly, the shotgun was raised and pointed at where Jyl was standing.
Jyl smirked and walked slowly towards the drawf, staying in the line of fire. From the left, another Jyl approached the drawf, and one from the right.
Chance's mind abruptly clicked into action upon spying the ID0 T-shirt that the elf wore... matching it up with the cybereyes and the blue hair.
His eyes widened. The last time he saw that man, he could have sworn that "he" was a "she"... and a pretty one at that.
Chance was a recon trooper in his past role, and part of his training included the infamous MOI, or Memorisation Of Instructions.
MOI involved the recon trainees studying a picture for sixty seconds, before being forced to undergo multiple sets of exercise repetitions and runs, ending off with a questioning of what had been on the picture... with extra PT for any mistakes. The aim was to train the soldiers in the art of remembering faces, places and events in spite of massive fatigue and pain.
That recon skill now came to the fore as events returned to his mental eye. Chance remembered seeing the elven "woman" with Raven... He felt his skin crawl. Still old-fashioned and conservative at heart, the soldier found transvestites rather alarming, people he judged as better to be avoided than to be trusted. He wondered if Raven had actually gone "all the way" with the "female" elf and felt physically ill.
And the person was coming over! Yikes!
Badjimmy was thankfully straightforward and to the point. A little on the bossy side, but Chance remained cool and listened to what he had to say. As a unconscious precaution against the elf taking unprofessional interest in him (Chance had a tendency to lump homosexuals and tranvestites together), the soldier found himself holding onto Ash's hand throughout the conversation as a "I'm straight" gesture... much to the amusement of Ash, who knew of his unease.
Leaving the club, Chance considered his options. So... Badjimmy wanted Lady Zero back. The soldier wasn't very convinced, his instincts telling him that the elf was not to be trusted. He tried to blame it on his discriminatory reaction against the tranvestite, but the feeling remained. As much as he tried to deny it, Lady Zero's music had touched him in a way that his war-hardened heart had not felt in years... he resolved not to give the lady over to Badjimmy's mercies without a proper check of the elf's history.
Gunning the engine of the scrambler, and with Ash riding pillion, Chance tapped on his wristphone to activate his drive-and-talk earpiece. He had to call Crystal to inform her of this latest development.
He hoped that she wasn't occupied...
A new guy entered Crash's appartment.
One of the cop got up. The other one was still lying on the floor, unconcious.
"Who-?" The Daisaka cop was cutted.
"Inspector Terrance, MUNDI peacekeeper police. You have caught a man searched around the world."
The man gazed at him. It looked way too similar to a runner. A short hair, a combat suit and a moustache were the most significant things on him. Two other Daisaka cops entered the room One of them whispered "Boss, I am afraid he's right. His ID is correct."
"Ok guys. Let me take care of this. You guys have done a great work." Two credsticks rolled towards them.
Dragon smiled. Overmind did an excellent work, as usual. The idiots of Daisaka had bitten the bait.
He headed for the place where the escaped runners were going to.
As the phone rang on Crystal's end, Chance reminded himself to call up the others, especially Dragon for his battle abilities, Xecktos for his hand-to-hand fighting skills, Turin for her intellect and cool reasoning, ... the list went on.
But first, Crystal had to pick up the darned phone... Chance frowned, surely narcobeer was no match for military-issue hangover-wiper pills?
His mouth quirked up in a little smile... She was probably still knocked out, too comfy in her bed to bother with the phone.
Tank roared in pain, as the bullets tore into his head, already wounded from Ery's charges detonating. Tank's boney ork skull saved him from certain death, but his legs buckled, and the huge ork tumbled forewards, landing hard on his knees. The Ork then collapsed sideways onto the floor, groaning in pain from his many wounds, and red filling his vision.
"Teach you to mess with humies, scum! Your damned species, fragging greenskins, think you're like us? Think you're human?"
The human, a dark, tall Italien with a scowl, moved up and aimed a kick into Tank's face. It never connected.
Tank opened his jaws, and with Orkish strength even evident in his facial muscles, bit down on the foot. It came clean off in his mouth. With a look of horrific suprise, the gangster slipped sideways, blood gushing from his injured leg, to mingle with Tank's on the white-tiled hospital floor. He clawed at the wall in vain, trying to support himself, but fell, right over Tank, whose gnashing jaws and huge strength awaited.
The other gangster brought his machine pistol to bear on the Ork, but Eva took advantage of the momentary confusion, and kicked him in the stomach. The gangster's bullets tore into the celing, but hit no real target. Eva leapt over the prone Ork and dying human, and sprinted off down the corridor, past the pooling dark ork blood, without a thought for the huge being that had made her escape possible.
Eva quickly dressed as she stumbled towards the exit. The time was expiring... and there was only a chance... The neon bitch. She surely had headed for her flat. She will have to be the hostage.
"MUNDI peacekeepers police! Stop!"
A voice yelled behind the fleeing group. Crash wondered what he had done so bad that the international cops were after him.
Dragon smiled. Somehow, his acting was pretty real.
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